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Blog 1710 Stellamina Neubaueyewear Saskiastolzlechner 4

Visit the green and glowing world of Amina Stella Steiner

Getting a glimpse into Vienna based Amina Stella Steiner's light flooded flat and conscious day to day life we can't help but feel a little envy.

Run­ning the sus­tain­ab­il­ity focused life­style blog Stel­lam­ina as well as work­ing as a pro­ject man­ager in a digit­al agency, Amina not only is an expert when it comes to everything online, but also exactly knows how to embrace the com­plete oppos­ite: nature and the envir­on­ment. Be it homegrown veget­ables, hand-sewn clothes, or a fair fash­ion guide, this cre­at­ive thinker not only shows how easy a con­scious and resource­ful life­style can be, but also how metic­u­lously styl­ish it can look at the same time. Luck­ily, Amina invited us into her green and glow­ing flat and world, shar­ing a few of her best tips for a sus­tain­able life­style and show­ing the pieces most essen­tial to her con­sid­er­ate possessions.

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Photography by Saskia Stolzlechner
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Photography by Amina Stella Steiner

When and why did you start ques­tion­ing your con­sumer and eat­ing beha­vi­or?
It might sound like a cliché but it was a movie that kick-star­ted my sus­tain­ab­il­ity jour­ney. The ground­work how­ever has already been made by my par­ents. Loc­al and qual­ity products were always just as nor­mal to me as going to the farm­ers mar­ket once a week. I of course had a small rebel phase of a few months, but when I saw the movie We feed the world” at the age of four­teen I imme­di­ately stopped eat­ing meat, finally under­stood my par­ents’ approach and star­ted to re-think my decisions. I read and learned a lot in the fol­low­ing years. When know­ing more about food pro­duc­tion, agri­cul­ture and policies, becom­ing vegan was a logic­al step. From there the road led to oth­er parts of life such as loc­al pro­duc­tion, fair fash­ion, and zero-waste. It was and is step-by-step learn­ing and implementing.

What were the hard­est steps to change your life for the pur­pose of sus­tain­ab­il­ity?
To be hon­est, I nev­er found it dif­fi­cult but rather very excit­ing! Search­ing for altern­at­ives awakens my cre­at­ive and curi­ous spir­it. The only thing that some­times is dif­fi­cult is when oth­er people feel restric­ted by my choices of liv­ing. I am prob­ably the most uncom­plic­ated per­son in regard to vegan­ism and sus­tain­ab­il­ity, nev­er los­ing a word about it if not asked to and also allow­ing myself excep­tions whenev­er I feel like it – but my life­style is of course a con­stant remind­er to oth­er people that some things could eas­ily be changed in daily life. Some are thank­ful for my soft influ­ence – oth­ers are not.

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Photography by Saskia Stolzlechner
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Photography by Saskia Stolzlechner

Is there one par­tic­u­lar pre­ju­dice that you’re often con­fron­ted with when oth­er people hear about your life­style?
I mostly get asked if this sort of life is extremely restrict­ive and dif­fi­cult. Too much think­ing – too little pleas­ure. But let’s be hon­est. How would my life­style pre­vent me from hav­ing fun, going out, and exper­i­en­cing amaz­ing moments? It’s true that there is a lot of research and inform­a­tion involved, but as with most things in life, it’s also about estab­lish­ing habits which then make the whole thing very easy in the end. In fact, I find great joy in it, as being restric­ted” also leads you to be more inter­ested and go on a con­stant dis­cov­ery hunt. Through this I got to know products but mainly also people and places I would have prob­ably not dis­covered oth­er­wise. When trav­el­ing for example I do not sit in the first cof­fee place I find but ask people for their spe­cial advice and dis­cov­er many secret spots.

Health is anoth­er top­ic many con­ver­sa­tions revolve around – and money. It is still believed that a vegan diet leads to the lack of vit­am­ins & co. I do agree that one has to be very con­scious about that and eat extremely well-bal­anced, yet after five years of a (nearly) vegan diet I still feel like a super ener­gized quirky per­son – hit­ting the gym five times a week. Region­al food can be shopped way less expens­ive than oth­er food. I did an exper­i­ment on low-budget organ­ic food shop­ping once. Sus­tain­able products in terms of cloth­ing, home, and sta­tion­ary are indeed more expens­ive – but the past has also proven to me that those products have a very long life­time and do fully pay off.

How do you buy new appar­el or accessor­ies? To what key factors do you attach great import­ance?
There is not much of a sys­tem behind of my pur­chases. Related to food I mainly watch out for region­al­ity and little pack­aging. And I go to the farm­ers mar­ket once a week. Fash­ion and oth­er products are mostly emo­tion­al pur­chases that meet my expect­a­tions of fair pro­duc­tion and sus­tain­able mater­i­als. Most of the things I own tell their per­son­al story, either con­nec­ted to their pro­duc­tion or the place I get them at.

Are there any stores, res­taur­ants, cafés, bars in your favor­ite dis­tricts of Vienna that you like going to and that ful­fill your eth­ic­al stand­ards?
I actu­ally have three dis­tricts I move and life in. One of them being the fifth dis­trict where my flat is. The Bud­apest Bis­tro is like a second liv­ing room and fam­ily to me – serving good break­fast and won­der­ful Hun­gari­an (also vegan) pastries. The own­er of the cof­fee place prob­ably knows as much about my rela­tion­ships as my team does. The Aro­mat” is my place to go when I want to go out and really talk to some­body. It is a super tiny French bis­tro offer­ing crêpes and galettes and is not only amaz­ingly styl­ish but also a calm and relax­ing place. Oth­er than that, the Zweit­be­ster and Figar are always good for cof­fee and lunch. Longer nights might be spent at WerkzeugH. The sev­enth dis­trict has also lit­er­ally been my second liv­ing room for the past two years, due to my work. There are many places to go, but you def­in­itely should­n’t miss out on the Wolfgang cof­fee and Tata res­taur­ant as much as the second Figar in town.

My agency will move to the first dis­trict soon, the dis­trict where I’ve been work­ing when I came to Vienna. I will have to dis­cov­er places there but the Tian res­taur­ant, my former work­ing place, and the Miznon are must-vis­it places too – I just real­ize I should prob­ably do dis­trict food­ie tours.

When it comes to cloth­ing I mostly shop when trav­el­ing, or online from labels I know. In Vienna I love the vin­tage shop at Burggasse24 and Kleider Machen Glück­lich. Vienna is lack­ing multi-brand fair fash­ion shops though. I also leave quite some money at the Saint Charles phar­macy, where I get my fancy health supplies.

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Photography by Saskia Stolzlechner

You were show­ing us around in your flat and we dis­covered quite a few DIY projects…

The whole flat is a con­stant DIY pro­ject of mine – but it has also been the DIY pro­ject of my uncle in earli­er times. When he was study­ing archi­tec­ture he rebuilt the apart­ment, and made all the floors, and con­struc­tions him­self. This is also why I have such a strong con­nec­tion to the place. It’s nearly entirely hand­made, white and wooden and has beau­ti­ful light. When I moved in I tried to get rid of everything I do not need and found my own style trough min­im­al­ist col­ors and plants. Not because of Pin­terest though, those things just crossed my way. So did the stands that I got from a museum stock clean­ing and many oth­er pieces. One can con­sider the naked man I drew a DIY, and also the kit­chen shelf I built. Addi­tion­ally, my sew­ing machine – as I do not only sew some of my cloth­ing but also cur­tains, kit­chen tow­els and so on.

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Photography by Saskia Stolzlechner

Tell us more about your micro farm­ing / urb­an garden­ing aspir­a­tions – do you have any tips?
I tried a lot and failed a lot. When I had to real­ize that grow­ing veg­gies does not quite fit into my daily routine – poor straw­ber­ries – I decided to opt for the min­im­al­ist ver­sion – grow­ing sprouts and micro veg­gies. Both of it is a very relax­ing and beau­ti­ful pro­cess res­ult­ing in a glass of fresh veg­gies at the end of a week. Rather than food it is more of a healthy add-on and con­nec­tion to food pro­duc­tion for me. But I still have more pro­jects planned – grow­ing mush­rooms on cof­fee ground and hav­ing my own com­post, are up next!

What’s your favor­ite part of your flat?
My liv­ing room. Def­in­itely. It is at the heart of my flat and the place to relax and unwind. It tells many stor­ies and is yet calm and friendly. It’s the place for cre­ativ­ity, work and relax­a­tion at the same time – yes, that’s possible.

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Photography by Saskia Stolzlechner
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Photography by Amina Stella Steiner

What’s your favor­ite book at the moment?

I rarely have favor­ite books. It’s always the book I cur­rently read that’s my favor­ite. But I do have book com­pan­ions that I get back to again and again. One of them – Komm, ich erzähle dir eine Geschichte”, by Jorge Bucay – was giv­en to me a year ago by a friend. How to get along with the wir­rwarr of life? With stor­ies! Fairy tales from around the world, sufi-par­ables, zen wis­doms, antique sagas that we all can con­nect to, help to under­stand our prob­lems, fears, and remind us of the essence of rela­tion­ships and per­son­al drive. Tools of titans” was recom­men­ded to me by anoth­er friend. It col­lects life hacks from the most suc­cess­ful and inter­est­ing people around the world. Sep­ar­ated into the dif­fer­ent areas of life like body and mind, it is the per­fect book to ran­domly open on any page and get inspir­a­tion from. It’s also a bit dan­ger­ous because I tend to try everything I read – which led to a three-day fast­ing after one chapter and cof­fee with loads of coconut oil after anoth­er. The 50 secrets of love,” by Elif Shafak is anoth­er beau­ti­ful book I’d highly recom­mend to read.

What piece you own has the most value to you?
Nearly every piece in my flat has its very own story and is very dear to me. My cush­ions and sofa cov­er for example have been cus­tom made by a female entre­pren­eur in Ethiopia when I was vis­it­ing her for a pro­ject. The rugs are hand­made from recycled yarn, the stands from a museum – and so on. One of my favor­ite pieces though is the make-up table – a heir­loom of my grandma. It’s a bit of a para­dox as I rarely put any make up on, but it is one of the very few things I have left from here and when I moved to this flat and saw the spot between the two win­dows, I knew it belonged right there. Anoth­er one is the Paul Flora draw­ing, anoth­er heir­loom. And only recently it got a coun­ter­part by a young Vien­nese artist, Frau Isa, which reminds me of being strong and fol­low­ing my path.

The most unex­pec­ted thing in your flat?
I guess that’s my toi­let, which is out­side of my flat. It’s a typ­ic­ally Vien­nese thing. But it might also be the fact that I only have one wash­bas­in for my kit­chen and bathroom.

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Photography by Amina Stella Steiner
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Photography by Amina Stella Steiner

Head­er Image by Saskia Stolzlech­ner

24 Oct 2017 · neubau eyewear
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